Over Memorial Day weekend Patrick and I headed to the North Shore for the second weekend in a row. We were supposed to go on this backpacking trip at the end of April, but it was still snowing then so we changed our plans and moved the trip to Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday morning we left our house at 5:00am to catch the shuttle by 9:00am. Without any traffic the trip was pretty quick and we even had time to stop in Duluth before we had to be in Beaver Bay. We arrived in the parking lot and we were concerned it might be a very busy weekend on the trail. Luckily, most people weren't riding the shuttle and they were going the south from Beaver Bay, while we were starting 30 miles away at the Finland Rec Center and then heading south.
We arrived at the Finland Rec Center and started our three day, thirty mile trek back to Beaver Bay. The first six miles went really well. We ended up stopping at one the campsites for lunch and met a couple there who was there with their five month old baby. They weren't doing an extensive trip, but they did plan to go day hiking the next day and it was a mile hike in from the closest parking lot so it was quite the adventure for them.
The next six miles were not nearly as enjoyable as the first six. Patrick had been battling a cold all week and it was starting to wear on him. He was also carrying a very heavy backpack. His pack weighed 43 pounds, while mine was much closer to 30 pounds. We were also on one of the more difficult areas of the trail, lots of rocky hills to climb up and down, so with 3 miles left I offered to switch bags with him. It didn't seem bad at first, but by the time we actually arrived at Kennedy Creek I was ready to be done. We both were.
Since I have done this backpacking thing a few times now I feel like I am a lot more help around camp. I set up the tent, while Patrick got the fire going. One of the reasons Patrick's bag was so heavy was because we decided to bring hobo dinners instead of dried food. Apparently the fire pit was a big mud pit, so we are very lucky the fire was going long enough to heat up the food. Dinner was definitely the highlight of the day, precooked chicken sausage with a variety of hearty vegetables really hit the spot.
On Sunday morning we woke up and took our time getting everything packed up. We ate our oatmeal in the sunshine, repacked our bags and taped up our blisters before heading out again. We also modified our plan for the day and decided that 8.5 miles would be a good amount of hiking for the day.
Our first cool site of the day was seeing Wolf Lake near Tettegouche State Park. Patrick had hiked this part with Rickard last spring and I remembered seeing this lake in his photos and thinking it would be awesome to see in person.
We also hiked through High Falls on the Baptism River in Tettegouche State Park again. Patrick and I did a hike from the State Park Visitor Center a couple years ago in August. Crazy how different the falls can look in later summer versus spring.
Shortly after High Falls we stopped for a snack at these very cool trees.
Around 6pm we arrived at the East Palisade campsite. Again we lucked out and no one else was camping there, so it was just us. Our dinner that night also relied on a campfire, so Patrick got to work on the fire while I set up the tent, got water from the creek and filtered the water. Our dinner for the night was frozen burritos. Also probably very heavy to be carrying on your back for 20.5 miles.
On Monday morning we were rudely awakened when Patrick found a tick crawling around in our tent. Yuck. We made our oatmeal and packed up for the day. There were two more beautiful lake overlooks that day as well. We stopped at the Bear Lake overlook for some snacks. From the overlook you could also see Bean Lake.
And here is where we started our trip from last fall. We were originally going to do another section of the trail, but because a bridge was out we ended up having to redo a section we did together and a section Patrick did with Rickard.
On Monday night we had two options for a campsite and unfortunately they both had people occupying them. The first was with a family of four, so we ventured on and stopped at the next one North Beaver River. We decided to stay at the North Beaver River site. The guy who was there was not very friendly. The campfire was meticulously set up and the branches were organized by size. We assumed he had done that and we ruined his plans. Only after Patrick made more organized piles and we were almost done eating did we see the guy to ask him if we could start a fire. He said all the fire stuff was there when he got there. So we went about our business and made a fire.
On Tuesday morning we headed to our car. The hike to our car ended up being less than a mile. We were both very excited to not be carrying our backpacks anymore. On our trip home we ended up stopping at numerous eating establishments. First stop was a gas station for chocolate, then Lou's Fish House for smoked salmon and trout (something we planned to do last weekend), then to Pizza Luce for lunch and finally a stop at Tobie's in Hinckley for a pecan roll.